The Live Funeral GFW 2013 Mourners


Event Type: Launch Event – Guyana Fashion Week 2013

Date : 4th August,2013

Location: Herdmanston Lodge, Georgetown, Guyana

Launch Vision: Bringing Life to Fashion and Bringing Fashion to Life.

Actual Outcome:  A Live Funeral

My Time of Arrival: 7:30pm

Invitation: The cover photo for the invitation which showcased  Miss Arti Cameron was  absolutely magnificent. However, GFW decided to play the role of Ashton Kutcher and punk my gullible ass. The  picture  had no resemblance to the  actual Launch of GFW 2013. The material on which the invitation was printed on was very similar to that of  a fish fry ticket. Even if GFW used recycled paper they  should have used their imagination a bit more. A pop up invitation would have looked awesome.

Invitation Standard: Mediocre


Cover Photo used for Invitations and Promotional Material

Seating Arrangement: There was no seating arrangement. Most persons were standing eating their imaginary fish fry.

Seating Arrangement Standard: Fish Fry Level

Show Guidance: There was no programme  handed out. At one point the MC said next we will have a song followed by  the person isn’t here  then oh the person has been located. A programme would have been nice or the MC knowing if all the participants were present before they started.

Show Guidance: Extremely Poor

Location:  The launch of GFW was held  at the Herdmanston Lodge and not at an aquatic or  an aquatic related location. Despite the fact that both Richard Young and Sonia Noel marketed the event around  water and it’s sustainable particles. There was no water or any water related significance highlight. The environment at the time of launch ( 7:30pm)  appeared  as a funeral  as the models of GFW 2013 made their debut  in All Black dresses. There was no sign of a catwalk  however, models  strutted themselves  freely in-front of the office of Hermdmanston Lodge  and it’s staff. Free Show Tun Up.

Location Standard : Poor Effort  with no sign of imagination.




We are on duty. Guarding unfinished garments.

Tip: The creative director needs to stop impersonating  Karl Lagerfeld and start feeding off of the man’s marketing strategies that don’t comprise only of personal styling.

Model Diversity:  Models ranged from different ethnic groups and body types. There was no sign of segregation. This was a superb example set for the international fashion industry. However, the only model that managed to strut it like it’s hot was Melessa Payne. I feel she is somehow overshadowed and underrated. Well done Melessa 😀

Overall Model Standard: Adequate


L.B.D and different types of models in abundance.

Designer Showcase: They were several designers that showcased a preview of what will be seen at Guyana Fashion Week come October 2013. The designers were introduced by Mr Richard Young as their pieces lit up the alley way catwalk.  Some designers were said to be Guyanese living overseas and participants from  former designer competitions. Most of the garments looked unfinished and hurried. They were primarily made from materials such as satin, cotton  and linen. However, nothing stood out or maybe the lighting and cramped environment  were  contributing factors . On another note one  Designer managed to showcase a dress that was said to be newly created  for his October debut, however the garment was on display for many months at the designer’s  Brickdam Showroom in Guyana.

Designer Showcase Standard: A Very Poor Effort


My period decided to stick around whilst the designer’s creative ability was put on pause. The Table Cloth Look.

Designer Tip: Upcoming designers need to come to terms with the fact that  they cannot  mimic the strategy of Coco Chanel. Upon entering the fashion industry they must  come with a fresh concept and identity. There is dire need to develop the  brand’s identity before the capitalizing on diffusion trends could start. Designers should  start investing in sewing classes and probably hire pattern cutters before attempting to make a table cloth look worth it.  Fittings before the show is also very vital.They must  be able to comprehend that fashion   has many different languages and each designer should speak  his or her own dialect.

Observation: Sonia Noel’s Speech – During the course of the launch  Sonia  Noel stated that John Public and other consumers should sponsor outfits created by the  designers to boost  the local fashion industry.  It is of  my belief that as a consumer  we  buy the things that we love and deem worthy not pity. This is the Fashion Industry not Jamzone Loan Zone. Ain’t nobody got time to feel sorry for nobody that wants  a free ride. Consumers  are not offered loans to buy  pity clothes.To get  anywhere in life you must make sacrifices and  you must roll with the punches that is, if  you want it  that bad.  Investors need to see effort. Poorly sewn clothes and unimaginative efforts will not attract anyone .  Well at least not me. It was an utter embarrassment to hear Sonia Noel make such a statement.

Sonia would you buy a half finished garment???

Overall Recommendation 

I think there  should be more time spent on planning and organizing. The creative director should also bear in mind from the time an investor picks up an invitation, they are  being  judged. It is very important that your vision reveals itself in the  location, designers, models and all other show features. Money and sponsorship do play an integral role , but  in order for you to get anyone on your side, you need to operate at your capacity and at your best.  GFW 2013 could have used the venue during the hours of 4:30 to 6:30. To achieve the aquatic scene, sprinklers could have been  installed and models could have debuted themselves in skin toned bodysuits. This would have signified new life and their sustainable water particles movement they wanted oh so much.

How do you think they could have improved?



Lets make up for our lack of imagination by posting pictures from ancient fashion weekend on the walls of Herdmanston Lodge.

BTW this is what I wore


P.S.  I didn’t hire a professional photographer. I wanted to show you it raw rank. See GT Vibrations for more pics. I hope they don’t fool you.





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  • sherry

    i couldn’t agree with u more, i was looking at the pics on gtvibes and they left a lot to be desired….the models makeup was horrible to begin with, it looked like amateur hour….and the clothes, nothing stood out, same things we see over and over….i am all for supporting local and i do have my share of tie dye and batik pieces and few other pieces by some not so popular Guyanese names, but they are immaculate pieces that i would be proud to wear in any part of the world……i was looking at pics of jamaican fashion weekend, and most of the clothes were gorgeous, the fabrics were so versatile and most importantly, they fit well….lots of ‘flowy’ fabrics….our designers especially the younger ones need to realise that they dont know it all, they need to learn, research, and most importantly like u said, sew/construct properly, fit is so important

  • Yonette

    I agree so much with u, we have to learn to promote a standard in all that we do. But it seems GFW have there own people because yes there are many other classy designers that should be there.
    I hope they read this article and turn there act around to more class as they so call they portray .

  • Fashion Observer

    This is such a beautiful balance of truth with reality, well done.

    While i applaud the efforts of Sonia Noel and the young Guyanese talents, there still leaves much to be desired. It is obvious that the more popular and pronounced names in fashion associated with class were absent from the line up for GFW 2013 and a surge of raw, virgin passion and talents is emerging to make up the show for GFW. The issue therein is this, one cannot promote an event as the premier fashion event in Guyana and it is with more unprofessional, inexperienced, untaught designers than those who are seasoned and have created a name for themselves. Most of the designers presented needs time to learn, develop and should spend some more time investing in their pieces, so that they can create a line, preferably a wearable line. A dress made of satin and lined with feathers from the Chinese store isn’t exactly premier, and the singling out of other pieces could go on forever.

    there is a gross breakdown in what has become a questionable model fraternity, where are the real model, the male men, the females with pizazz, attitude and those who will walk the catwalk with an heir about themselves, that is notably absent, except for the few familiar faces who are still working the runway. This is not to say that they aren’t any new models who fit this bracket but they’re far too many who aren’t exactly run way material for the “premier fashion event in a nation”. there’s a time and place for everything and in this sense, everyone.

    while the vision is plausible, much needs to be done to ensure that Guyana’s fashion drive isn’t the laughing stock among other fashion events in the region…
    where are the Michelle Cole’s the Derek Moore, the Keisha Edwards, Donna Ramsammy James, the Roger Gary’s, the Andrew Harris’ and Pat Coates among others to put their name and mark on such an event and really make it Guyana’s Premier Fashion Event…there must be a reason for their notable absence and that should be considered.

    ps. it’s the only fashion event i’ve ever been to in all my life in many places that has souse on sale….

    Best wishes to the GFW team all the same

  • The Platinum Prince

    I will be an individual here and state my point of view. I’m somewhat overly surprised and mildly humoured by the ramblings of this ‘blog’ who has not to date achieved any merit or experience to even speak fashion. The western influence on what should be proper benchmarks is what has, even the writer of this nonsense, supporting ‘All things American’ instead of the talent in the Caribbean. I suggest you continue your studies from whence you came, cuz aint nobody got time for you here. I have been personally involved in the production of this and other events around Guyana and what is most disappointing is that our citizens, instead of thoroughly investigating and reporting, as is the proper journalistic approach.
    Now, I may be able to see the reason behind the ‘constructive’ criticism for most of the things mentioned, and it has been duly accepted, but to even come close to mentioning that Richard Young uses and mimics the approach of Karl Lagerfeld is too preposterous to read once.
    Know Your Subjects: Richard Young is one of the most creative and ingeniously talented men in the Caribbean realm of the fashion industry. Those of us who are around him and are privileged to be in his company would know how brilliant he is. To even make a comparison shows the extent of your fashion illiteracy and general lack of knowledge and productive time.
    My Take: This blog is clearly the result of too much family money being placed in the hands of a little girl who has nothing else to do than pretend to be consciously informed about something that is of importance to so many others. Where is the verbiage on the influence of Caribbean Style or the influx of western ideologies that have begun to penetrate the creative talents of our designers? Where are the articles on the stalwarts of Caribbean Fashion and the effects these persons have made on the new generation of fashionistas?
    Sweetie, when you can talk Caribbean style and fashion, come to us…other than that, continue to strive for western success and American recognition because no one here has any genuine interest in the content of anything you wrote, as opposed to the crass opinions you have to offer

    • Ashma John

      Most of my clothes are sewn by a Guyanese seamstress. This includes the dress I wore to the Launch of GFW. This is also a personal blog. Therefore I will have my own opinion. I don’t need a degree. But in case you wondering I graduated with a Masters in International Fashion Marketing last October.

      • Platinum

        Dear, it matters not what you graduated with, its what you do with what you have that adds integrity to your name and your efforts. Coming back to your country only to bash, criticize and undermine the efforts of those young designers who cannot be afforded the opportunity that you were given is plain pathetic. its nasty and you should seriously be ashamed of yourself. Please understand where I am coming from, I have nothing against you, but I’m sure your time could’ve been better spent imparting what you have learnt internationally, to the new generation of raw talent instead of flexing your muscle in the hopes that someone sees you as superior. Invest your time, and energy into helping to develop the industry in our country and assisting the less fortunate to become better. The Guyana fashion industry is a very young one and in comparison to our sister countries in the Caribbean, needs the most help. From technical training to materials to corporate support, our designers and models struggle everyday to do their best to keep hope alive and you have the audacity to chin-up and stare down your nose at them. grow up sweetie, mature yourself and contribute something that is worthwhile…

        • Ashma John

          If you need funding this is a different situation. I suggest these “designers” start researching schools where they could obtain scholarships or find a course suitable to their liking. My friend from Iran is currently doing an MBA in Luxury Brand Management -Alma Graduate School, Italy ( All living expenses were included in the scholarship as well).”Designers” could also try interning with more popular houses in the Caribbean like MEILING. A mentor would be a real plus. I see this is the strategy Andrew Harris is using by working along with FIT professor Steven Cutting. Andrew Harris is also a Guyanese designer whose work I’m very interested in. Maybe you can feature him in the next GFW and the younger designers could learn off of him. If you want designers that are producing “Caribbean” clothing then they should probably searching The Caribbean Academy of Fashion and Design at UTT (Trinidad). Whatever these designers produce here after is up to them they should not for held ransomcreate

          • Ashma John

            All the designers and industry professionals mentioned above have struggled and fought for what they want. They also managed to have an opinion, take critique and use it to the best of their ability. I urge to read the story of Suzy Menkes who now sits front row on majority of fashion shows after being banned on a few instances

      • Emma H

        Firstly, congrats! Getting a scathing, defensive comment on one of your posts like this means you’re saying something that resonates with people, makes them think, and react!

        Secondly, I can see why anyone who was involved in putting the GFW launch together would feel incredibly hurt and defensive after reading your post. But guess what? The truth hurts! It does. and I have to give you huge props for blatantly sharing your honest opinion in a community that is so small and where the potential for backlash is so high. That is bravery. I often think that in places like Guyana, or Trinidad (where I now live), mediocrity is tolerated and excused for a variety of reasons, especially in the arts. But it shouldn’t be! We are better than that, we can do better than that, and we should expect more from ourselves and be BRAVE enough to speak our minds to raise the standards of what we are producing and showcasing to the world.

        Thirdly, your writing style is tongue in cheek, it’s funny and I don’t ever take it at face value. Since I discovered that you started this blog I have been drawn back again and again, because you have something interesting and of value to say, all with a clever sense of humour. And even more than that, you’re saying it from Guyana, which, in a world dominated but western blogs and designers, is so refreshing, and much needed. Yeah I agree, it would be great if you would dedicate a section just to Caribbean fashion designers, but you just started and these things will come.

        Fourthly, whether your parents helped you start this platform or not is just so irrelevant, that’s just the luck of the draw. The drive had to come from you, as it so clearly has.

        Finally, the Guyanese Fashion community should definitely take note of someone so driven, passionate, articulate, fearless and with such high expectations of the creativity and standards of work that can be produced by her fellow countrymen&women. Mr Prince, instead of shutting her down and dismissing her, engage in the interesting dialogue on this platform, learn from one another (she does after all know what she is talking about, and it sounds like you do too) and work together to build the Guyanese Fashion Industry into something we can all be proud of.

    • aleksis

      I’ve just googled “Richard Young” … I guess that it’s not “a real privilege” for Google to list him in the first 100 or 1000 pages 🙂 just sayin’…

  • guyanesesista

    Ashma this is YOUR blog and you can write whatever the hell you want. Congrats on your recent graduation. Though this article may be scathing, what people need to understand is that fashion is a VERY TOUGH, UNFORGIVING, CRITICAL industry. If you are are going to lash out when someone writes a negative review of your clothing or event then you need to leave now. Also, in business not everyone is going to love your product/service. When you see you a negative response learn from it and keep it moving, don’t jump into a hissy fit.

    Mr Prince sounds like he has been in the industry for a while(I may be wrong) and though he does have a right to respond, it baffles me since he’s supposed to know that in the fashion industry people WILL rip you apart sometimes. Maybe people are not used to being badly reviewed in the Guyana fashion industry(I may be wrong since I don’t know much about it) but they better prepare their minds for it. Sometimes you have to hear the negative to improve on what you do. This woman chose not to fake her feelings about the event on her own blog. Maybe there was another idea but things went wrong and the organizers had to improvise or maybe it was their original idea and they thought it was super awesome. Either way, she reviewed what she witnessed.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts Ashma.

    • Ashma John

      Thank You for reading :).

  • Natalie

    What does your background have to do with an eye for fashion? It is a gift. Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel was raised in a convent before her extraordinary gift and talent propelled her to success, fame and fotune. In contrast Karl Lagerfeld was the son of a wealthy businessman and was afforded a private education. Yet he now designs for the House of Chanel.
    Ironically I saw GFW the exact day I discovered this blog upon recommendation. I told my friend the GFW left me feeling ready to RIP and the blog was an instant rebirth.
    Although the comparision to Karl Lagerfeld was quite generous. In fact it may cause him to loose a few more pounds.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with constructive criticism in fact it is the best thing for improvement and progression

    The seamstress whose designs are featured in this Blog should be given a spot on GFW. The fit is fantastic and the clothes can be bought straight off the runway.